$900M bond program begins to ‘breathe new life’ into colleges

When students at College of San Mateo return from winter break, they’ll have a post-holiday present waiting for them: a new student services building in the center of campus.
The project is part of a $900 million transformation taking place on the three campuses within the San Mateo County Community College District.
The projects — ranging from brand new buildings to electrical and infrastructure improvements are meant to improve the functionality of the campuses but also make them more inviting to students, according to Rick Bennett, executive director of construction planning for the college district.
“Even now, when you drive through the entrance at College of San Mateo or walk through the quad at Skyline you can see the changes,” Bennett said.
To fund the facility improvements, voters in San Mateo approved two separate bond measures: one for $207 million in 2000, and then a second in 2006 for $468 million. State money is also funding some of the construction, Bennett said, which is currently estimated to cost $900 million.
The building and renovation work is spread throughout numerous projects on each campus. The first major building project, the brand new 140,000 square foot Building 10 at College of San Mateo, is expected to be complete in January, Bennett said.
Building 10 will serve as the College’s “signature building,” according to district documents. It will include a one-stop center of student services, including admissions, career services, counseling, health center, financial aid and disabled students programs. The tall and spacious building will have a cafeteria and a bookstore, as well as some classrooms.
The four-story, $85 million building located at the center of campus will also include glass windows that overlook San Francisco Bay.
The old student services building, an estimated 110,000 square feet, will be expanded to roughly 140,000 square feet, which will include another floor.
In the fall, a second new facility at College of San Mateo will be completed, Building 5. The 88,000-square-foot building will include a new fitness center and will house various health programs including cosmetology, nursing and dental assistant classes. A new aquatic center with a new 50-meter swimming pool will also be built.
“It’s really an update,” said Barbara Christensen, college district spokeswoman of the new building. “Building 5 was seismically unsafe. But in its place we are able to put both fitness and wellness under one roof.”
Building 5 is estimated to cost $60 million. Both buildings at College of San Mateo are targeted to receive LEED certification — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — using sustainable building and construction elements.
At Skyline College, $90 million worth of improvements will “breathe new life” into the campus, including a new ceramics lab and skylights, Bennett said. Other improvements include a new Building 4, with a multi-cultural center, classroom and office.
Bond projects at Cañada College include a new 70,000-square-foot library and multipurpose building. Auto technician students will see additional bays and workspaces for students. 
The entire $900 million bond project is expected to be completed by 2012.
akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Improvements to facilities

Among bond construction projects at San Mateo County Community College District campuses:

College of San Mateo

  • New Building 5 — fitness center, aquatic pool, classrooms for cosmetology, nursing and dental assistant courses
  • New Building 10 — larger lecture rooms, a student center and administrative offices; new technology in classrooms, landscape and site work

Canada College

  • New 70,000-square-foot library and  multipurpose building
  • Building 9 (the former library) will be remodeled for classrooms
  • New lighting, carpets, technology in classrooms, landscape and site work

Skyline College

  • New Building 4 — Multicultural center, cosmetology, classrooms and administration offices
  • Building 8 will be modernized
  • New building 11 — auto tech
  • New facilities maintenance center
  • New lighting, carpets, technology in classrooms, landscape and site work

Source: San Mateo County
Community College District

Bay Area NewsdistrictLocalSan Mateo

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